Aqrawi, A.A.M. and B. Badics 2015. Geochemical characterisation, volumetric assessment and shale-oil/gas potential of the Middle Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous source rocks of NE Arabian Plate. GeoArabia, v. 20, no. 3, p. 99-140.


The Middle Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous strata of the NE Arabian Plate contain several prolific source rocks providing the charge to some of the largest worldclass petroleum systems. They are located within the Zagros Fold Belt and Mesopotamian Foreland Basins covering the northern, central and southeastern parts of Iraq, Kuwait and western and southwestern Iran, particularly the Lurestan and Khuzestan provinces. These source rocks include the Bajocian– Bathonian Sargelu, the Callovian–Lower Kimmeridgian Naokelekan and the Upper Tithonian–Lower Berriasian Chia Gara formations of Iraq and their chronostratigraphic equivalents in Kuwait and Iran. They have charged the main Cretaceous and Cenozoic (Tertiary) reservoirs throughout Iraq, Kuwait and Iran with more than 250 billion barrels of proven recoverable hydrocarbons. These formations represent the transgressive system tracts of sequences deposited within deep basinal settings and anoxic environments. They are dominated by black shales and bituminous marly limestones, with high total organic carbon (TOC) contents (ranging from 1–18 wt%), and by marine Type IIS kerogen. Their Rock-Eval S2 yields may reach up to 60 mg HC/g Rock, particularly along the depocentre of the Mesopotamian Foreland Basin. The immature hydrogen index (HI) values might have been up to 700 mg HC/g TOC, whereas the present-day observed values vary depending on the location within the basin and the present-day maturity. The Source-Potential Index (SPI; i.e. mass of hydrocarbons in tons, which could be generated from an area of 1 sq m in case of 100% transformation ratio) averages around 2–3, but can even reach up to 14–16 along the basins’ centres. The Sargelu and the overlying Naokelekan-basinal Najmah formations (and their equivalents) could represent the best potential shale-gas/shale-oil plays in Iraq, Kuwait and Iran, due to their organic richness, favourable maturity and the presence of regional upper and lower seals. The estimated oil-in-place for the potential Sargelu shale-oil play in Iraq only is around 1,300–2,500 billion barrel oil-equivalent (BBOE) and in Kuwait is about 7–150 BBOE.

MEGREF : 16316
Publication Year : 2015
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